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Social Fishes and Single Mothers: Brain Evolution in African Cichlids
Alejandro Gonzalez-Voyer, Svante Winberg and Niclas Kolm
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 276, No. 1654 (Jan. 7, 2009), pp. 161-167
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30243945
Page Count: 7
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As with any organ, differences in brain size—after adequate control of allometry—are assumed to be a response to selection. With over 200 species and an astonishing diversity in niche preferences and social organization, Tanganyikan cichlids present an excellent opportunity to study brain evolution. We used phylogenetic comparative analyses of sexed adults from 39 Tanganyikan cichlid species in a multiple regression framework to investigate the influence of ecology, sexual selection and parental care patterns on whole brain size, as well as to analyse sex-specific effects. First, using species-specific measures, we analysed the influence of diet, habitat, form of care (mouthbrooding or substrate guarding), care type (biparental or female only) and intensity of sexual selection on brain size, while controlling for body size. Then, we repeated the analyses for male and female brain size separately. Type of diet and care type were significantly correlated with whole brain size. Sex-specific analyses showed that female brain size correlated significantly with care type while male brain size was uncorrelated with care type. Our results suggest that more complex social interactions associated with diet select for larger brains and further that the burden of uniparental care exerts high cognitive demands on females.
Proceedings: Biological Sciences © 2009 Royal Society